What are we? Tracks and lyrics

 

Vivid black

Words and music by Maggie Nicols

Vivid black. Take me back to the source.
Abundant void, undestroyed by time.
Giving birth to the spark in us all,
That endless swirl, the dance of life and death.
Your vibrant dark embrace touches me,
Gives me place to be

All around, in the depth of the night,
I hear your call and silent fall, below.
It feeds me with the sweetest desire:
Your midnight heart allows my fire to grow;
Your vibrant dark embrace touches me,
Gives me place to be

Changing through all our changing
You are always there.
This is my lovesong to the dark,
The innocent, demonised dark.

 

Fear and greed

Words and music by Sid Thomas

Fear and greed make the world turn on its axis.
Hide your money, pay no taxes:
Fear and greed are all you need.

Greed and fear get you out of bed each morning.
Inner voices always warning:
Greed and fear are what you hear.

Fear today, fear the past and fear tomorrow,
Fear the plebs who beg and borrow,
Fear forever, come what may.

Greed is good. Greed’s your friend, it wants what you do.
Greed’s for real, greed isn’t voodoo.
Greed is just misunderstood.

Fear and greed – two good reasons to be cheerful.
Greedy, smiling, happy, fearful,
Satisfaction guaranteed.

 

Ouroboros

Lines by George Wither (1588-1667); music by Maggie Nicols, Pete Stacey and Sid Thomas

Old sages by the figure of the snake
(encircled thus) did oft expression make
Of annual revolutions and of things that wheel about
In everlasting rings:
There ending, where they first of all begun.
Encircled thus these roundels help
To shew the mystery
Of that immense and blest eternitie.

From whence the creature sprung,
And into whom it can again
With full perfection come.

 

Been here before

Words and music by Sid Thomas

Wild geese flying into the setting sun
Disappear like good intentions:
Three dimensions folded into one.
Have I been here before?
Yes, I’ve been here before.

Ginkgo turning from green to glowing gold.
Throngs of leaves reel down in turmoil,
Aerofoils transmuted into mold.
Have I been here before?
Yes, I’ve been here before.

Blue remembered hills:
Soft contours that shift and change,
Touched by the sun and seasons.
Ever-receding range.
Landscape at once familiar, yet so strange.

Some wild creature leaves tracks across the snow.
Enigmatic apparition
On a mission we will never know.
Have I been here before?
Yes, I’ve been here before.

As the evening gives way to midnight blue,
Light the candle, close the curtain,
With a certain sense of déjà vu.
Have I been here before?
Yes, I’ve been here before.

Now I close my eyes,
And now I will count to ten.
Rinse and repeat, start over,
Rinse and repeat again.
Wing and a prayer, for ever more, amen.

 

Nomad

Words and music by Maggie Nicols

Shape-shifting nomad, what have you seen?
Drifting dreamer, kaleidoscope queen,
I love you.

Crazy chameleon, what have you been?
Magic mirror, not what you seem,
I love you.

It’s a gift and a curse, and for better and worse
We’re bonded together: I’m with you forever.
Such a truthful liar, you inspire
Wonderful things. How my heart sings.

Nurturing warrior learning to show
Your true colours, all that you know,
I love you.

Shape-shifting nomad, what have you seen?
Drifting dreamer, kaleidoscope queen,
I love you.

Crazy chameleon, who have you been?
Magic mirror, more than you seem,
I love you.

It’s a gift and a curse, and for better and worse
We’re bonded together: I’m with you forever.
Such a truthful liar, you inspire
Wonderful things. How my heart sings.

Shape-shifting nomad, where have you been?
Drifting dreamer, kaleidoscope queen,
I love you.

 

Fierce and tender

Words and music by Maggie Nicols

Fierce and tender, that’s how I feel.
Don’t have to win or surrender when the give and take is real.
We survive the ups and the downs.
Loving and learning is how we want to be.

Fierce and tender when you’re by my side.
Then my sweet loved companion there is nothing in the world I need to hide.
Honesty is not an illusion, truth laid bare after years of confusion.
Fiercest emotion, tender devotion,
Friendship as deep as Nature’s ocean.

Fierce and tender, ooh how it’s expressed,
In a fiery passionate and sweet gentle caress.
There are times you move to tears
‘Cause you make me feel

Fierce and tender.

 

Pale creatures

Words and music by Sid Thomas

The yew endures four thousand years.
The mayfly dances for a few summer hours.
And so it goes: every thing lives a lifetime.

Something lives under every stone –
Pale creatures hatching by the light of the moon.
And so it goes: every thing lives a lifetime.

Time, a hare and tortoise race.
Lichen on a sundial’s face.
Life’s now. Time’s never.
And so it goes: the glass falls hour by hour, forever.

Daughters of Adam, sons of Eve,
Cast fleeting shadows on the walls of the cave.
And so it goes: every thing lives a lifetime.

Melting clockface, leafless tree.
Apple where the head should be.
Still life. Still standing.
And so it goes: to fly is easy, the hard part is landing.

Meanwhile, in awful solitude,
Out there two galaxies approach and collide.
And so it goes: every thing lives a lifetime

 

You, darkness

Maggie Nicols’s setting of the poem by Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

You, darkness, that I come from
I love you more than all the fires
that fence in the world,
for the fire makes a circle of light
That includes some, but not others.

But the darkness pulls in everything-
shapes and fires, animals and myself,
how easily it gathers them! –
powers and people-

and it is possible a great presence is stirring beside me.

I have faith in nights.

 

The Honest Miller

Words and music by Sid Thomas

Grass and green and grow:
In the morning of the World –
Grass and green and grow –
Past the far shore of the Middle Ocean –
Grass and green and grow –
There the Fertile Crescent curled;
Grass and green and grow.

Oat and rye and choke:
Weeds transfigured into crops.
Oat and rye and choke:
Gatherers bend daily to their labour –
Oat and rye and choke –
To pluck the grain before it drops;
Oat and rye and choke.

Groat and bran and germ:
Green to gold the listening wheat –
Groat and bran and germ –
Pricks its ears for signs of black sclerotia.
Groat and bran and germ:
A dancing madman crowned with cheat.
Groat and bran and germ.

Bread and cake and ale:
Bison-like the City stumbles –
Bread and cake and ale –
Indiscriminate through blighted landscapes.
Bread and cake and ale:
Bloats and gorges as it crumbles.
Bread and cake and ale.

Grass and green and grow:
Who can tell the flour from filler?
Oat and rye and choke:
Corn and cockle fall to scythe and combine –
Groat and bran and germ –
Earmarked for an honest miller,
Bread and cake and ale.

In the end the weeds return.
Finally the works of mankind fail.

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